DUIGUID v. ROBINSON et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Susan D. Wigenton on 6/14/2016. (nr, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
LARRY DUIGUID, JR.,
DONNA ROBINSON et al.,
Civil Action No. 2:15-cv-08528-SDW-LDW
June 14, 2016
WIGENTON, District Judge.
Before this Court is Defendant Assistant Prosecutor Ryan Magee’s (“Defendant Magee”)
Motion to Dismiss pro se Plaintiff Larry Duiguid, Jr.’s (“Plaintiff”) Complaint, pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). 1 This Court, having considered the parties’ submissions, decides
this matter without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons
stated below, Defendant Magee’s Motion is GRANTED.
Plaintiff Larry Duiguid, Jr. filed a Complaint in this Court on December 9, 2015, which
named nine defendants, including Defendant Magee, a number of police officers, and a judge.
(Dkt. No. 1.) According to the Complaint, at approximately 1:20 or 1:30 A.M. on July 16, 2014,
Venue is proper in this District pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b). To the extent Plaintiff intended to state
a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, this Court has jurisdiction over this case under 28 U.S.C. §1331.
two police officers knocked on Plaintiff’s door. (Compl. at 6.) After asking Plaintiff about his
whereabouts that evening, the police officers notified Plaintiff that he had been “implicated in an
incident and they need[ed Plaintiff] to come with them.” (Id.) The police officers then drove
Plaintiff to an area where an ambulance and an assault victim were located. (Id.) The assault
victim then identified Plaintiff as her assailant and the officers escorted Plaintiff to a police station.
Detective Dane Marble, a third police officer, interviewed Plaintiff at the police station.
(Id. at 7.) During the interview, Plaintiff explained that he did not assault the woman and agreed
to take a polygraph, although the Complaint does not indicate whether a polygraph was conducted.
At some point after the interview, Defendant was indicted but the charge was subsequently
“dismissed.” (Id.) The Complaint does not indicate what crime Plaintiff was charged with or on
what basis the charge was dismissed. (Id.) It does, however, indicate that Plaintiff spent 443 days
in the Bergen County Jail. (Id.) Moreover, Plaintiff claims that the assault allegation was “not
investigated properly” and that Plaintiff’s public defender “received several written statements”
explaining that Plaintiff was in his residence at the time of the assault. (Id.)
Although Defendant Magee is listed as a defendant in the Complaint’s caption, the
Complaint does not mention him in its narrative or explain how he was involved with any alleged
wrongdoing. (Id.) In addition, the Complaint does not explain what cause of action Plaintiff’s
claim is based upon. (Id.) It does, however, state that Plaintiff suffered “emotional stress,
depression, anxiety[,] . . . sleep disorders, [and] mood swings” and seeks $2,000 in damages for
each of the 443 days Defendant was incarcerated. (Id. at 4.) The Complaint also indicates that the
sole basis for federal jurisdiction over this matter is that there is a “U.S. Government Defendant.”
(Compl. at 2.)
On May 9, 2016, Defendant Magee filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Dkt. No. 14.) Plaintiff did not file any
The adequacy of pleadings is governed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), which requires that a
complaint allege “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). This Rule “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level[.]” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted); see also Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (stating that Rule 8 “requires a ‘showing,’ rather than a blanket assertion,
of an entitlement to relief”).
In considering a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a court must “accept all
factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to
relief.” Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231 (quoting Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7
(3d Cir. 2002)) (internal quotation marks omitted). However, “the tenet that a court must accept
as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.
Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Determining whether the allegations
in a complaint are “plausible” is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw
on its judicial experience and common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. If the “well-pleaded facts
do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct,” the complaint
should be dismissed for failing to “show that the pleader is entitled to relief” as required by Rule
Defendant Magee argues that Plaintiff’s Complaint should be dismissed, as to Defendant
Magee, because Plaintiff has not stated a claim upon which relief may be granted. (See Def.’s Br.
Supp. Mot. Dismiss 5-7.) In considering Defendant Magee’s argument, this Court notes that pro
se complaints, “however inartfully pleaded, . . . . are [held] to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Nonetheless, “even
‘a pro se complaint must state a plausible claim for relief.’” Yoder v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 566
F. App'x 138, 141 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Walker v. Schult, 717 F.3d 119, 124 (2d Cir. 2013)).
In this instance, Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to state a claim as to Defendant Magee on a
number of bases. First, despite listing Defendant Magee as a defendant in the Complaint’s caption,
the Complaint’s narrative does not mention Defendant Magee or how he was involved in any
wrongdoing. (Compl. at 6-7.) Although the Complaint states that Plaintiff was incarcerated for a
crime he did not commit, it does not provide any basis for this Court to conclude that Defendant
Magee had any role in Plaintiff’s prosecution or incarceration. (See id.)
Second, the Complaint indicates that the only basis for this Court’s jurisdiction over this
matter is that the U.S. Government is a defendant. (Compl. at 2.) Despite being directed to indicate
all bases for jurisdiction that apply (and being provided with the options), Plaintiff did not indicate
that this Court has federal question or diversity jurisdiction over this matter. (See id.) Moreover,
the Complaint does not indicate any cause of action or statute under which Plaintiff seeks relief.
(See id. at 6-7.) These deficiencies make it impossible for this Court to determine on which
cause(s) of action Plaintiff intended to base his claims (i.e., violation of federal or state laws).
In light of these deficiencies, Plaintiff’s Complaint has not provided Defendant Magee with
fair notice of the claims against him or the grounds upon which those claims rest. See Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Complaint must be dismissed as to Defendant Magee for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 2
For the reasons set forth above, Defendant Magee’s Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED. An
appropriate order follows. 3
s/ Susan D. Wigenton
SUSAN D. WIGENTON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Magistrate Judge Leda D. Wettre
Although Plaintiff’s Complaint does not indicate that Defendant Magee violated Plaintiff’s constitutional
rights, this Court notes for Plaintiff that “a prosecutor is immune from damages in a [42 U.S.C.] § 1983
action for her initiation of a prosecution and presentation of a state’s case.” Gause v. Haile, 559 F. App'x
196, 198 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 135 S. Ct. 144 (2014) (citing Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430
(1976)). Moreover, New Jersey county prosecutor’s offices are regularly found to be entitled to immunity
under the Eleventh Amendment. See, e.g., Rouse v. N.J. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., No. CV 1501511, 2015 WL 5996324, at *3 (D.N.J. Oct. 13, 2015); Paez v. Lynch, 7-cv-5036, 2009 WL 5171858, *4
(D.N.J. Dec. 23, 2009); Mikhaeil v. Santos, 10-cv-3876, 2011 WL 2429313, *4 (D.N.J. June 13, 2011).
Plaintiff’s Complaint is also deficient as to Judge Louis Dinice for the same reasons it is deficient as to
Defendant Magee. Accordingly, this Court dismisses Plaintiff’s Complaint as to Defendant Judge Dinice
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